Leif Podhajsky on his mind-bending psychedelic art

The visual artist behind a range of Tame Impala, Foals and Bonobo album covers talks to us about creating his debut monograph and how a childhood immersed in nature shaped his outlook

The connection between an artist or designer and their creative output can sometimes remain a mystery. Yet Leif Podhajský’s practice and outlook are, it seems, a perfectly logical product of his life experiences.

The Australian-born, Berlin-based visual artist, graphic designer and creative director has built a practice that leans into naturally occurring systems, vistas and phenomena, which often intersect with graphic and technological elements to striking effect.

Over the course of his career, he’s created arresting artwork for posters and editorial projects (including a Christopher Nolan issue of Wired), and has drawn on weathered landscapes and natural elements in his work for the likes of whisky brand Ballantine’s. Podhajský’s designs have also found a home in fashion, on fabric prints for rainwear brand Ponch, swimwear label Bower, and sportswear giant Nike for a clothing collection in partnership with basketball player Kevin Durant.

Yet it’s his vast portfolio of album artwork that has garnered Podhajský the most esteem over the years. His artworks for Tame Impala, including the glitchy cover for seminal 2013 album Innerspeaker, perfectly match Kevin Parker’s trademark faraway sound. Meanwhile, his designs for a spate of Bonobo releases merged nature and order, perfectly mirroring the producer’s blend of repeated rhythms and exploratory sounds. The artist was also enlisted to create artwork for the likes of Mount Kimbie and Foals (including the Holy Fires album cover and the stimulating music video for Sunday), his aesthetics shapeshifting each time.

Leif Podhajský’s cover artwork for Tame Impala album Innerspeaker. All images from New Psychedelia published by Thames & Hudson

JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Milton Keynes